Milestone man Nathan Lyon delivered with bat and ball for Australia on day two of the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba, helping reduce India to 62-2 at tea before rain washed out rest of the day.
Lyon scored 24 as part of a wagging tail that dragged Australia from 315-8 to a first-innings total of 369 in Saturday’s morning session. The offspinner then snared the key scalp of Rohit Sharma, who had looked increasingly dangerous prior to giving Mitchell Starc some catching practice in the deep while on 44.
Lyon, who was given a standing ovation when he walked out to bat, requires a further three wickets to celebrate 400 Test scalps in what is his 100th Test.
Starc’s new-ball spell lasted three overs before he was replaced by Pat Cummins, who fired out Shubman Gill with a pinpoint delivery that found the edge and flew to Steve Smith at second slip.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are unbeaten, on eight and two respectively, after helping trim Australia’s lead to 307 runs.
Pujara and Rahane are India’s two best batsmen but also their only players who took part in both the first and fourth Tests, underlining how much of a toll this summer has taken on the injury-riddled touring party.
They look likely to be a bowler down for the rest of the series finale in Brisbane, with paceman Navdeep Saini yet to bowl after suffering a groin injury on day one.
Coach Justin Langer will lament Australia’s collapse of three wickets for four runs, which included the wickets of well-set batsmen Tim Paine (50) and Cameron Green (47), as well as their inability to post a more imposing total.
But Langer will take heart in the fact that Australia have never lost a Test at the Gabba after scoring 350-plus in the first innings. Starc finished 20 not out after stretching Australia’s innings into a 116th over, testing the resolve of an unheralded attack that never dropped their bundle.
T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar, having bowled a combined 10 deliveries prior to being called up for this Test, captured nine wickets between them at the Gabba. Lyon stroked four boundaries, while Starc clattered a six off Sundar in their 39-run partnership.